Timeline for Facebook Pages: The Quick & Dirty

February 29, 2012

Facebook announced Timelines for business pages this morning. OK, so what does that mean exactly? Well, if you haven't logged into Facebook for a while, Timeline refers to the new profile design that Facebook unveiled last year for personal profiles.

As we mentioned on Facebook, you don't have to make the switch right away. In fact, if you have any customization on your page already it's a good idea to review things thoroughly before transitioning to the new design! Right now, you can opt to preview the design (this preview will only be visible to admins of your page). Once you've made adjustments or additions to accommodate the new layout, you can publish your Timeline to the public. Otherwise, Facebook is saying that the changes will roll out on March 30th for everyone.


OK, so here are the basics...

Cover Photos


The visible area of a profile image got smaller, but now we have cover photos to make up for it. This 850x315 area will be the first thing that people see when they come to your page, so it's kind of a big deal. Want to see ours in action? Head over to our newly updated Facebook page (boasting the new Timeline design) to have a look.


Tab Navigation

With the reorganization of pages, the page navigation that used to be stacked down the left-hand side of the page below profile images has moved to the right-hand side of the page below the cover photo (see the screenshot above for an example of what this looks like). You can still reorder tabs to suit your business, but by default you'll see photos, likes, map first (photos must be in the first position, but you're free to swap others around).


Custom Tabs

Gosh darn it they've changed the size. If you have custom tabs designed for the previous 520px width, you'll want to revisit these before making the switch to the new design for a couple of reasons. The first reason (and most obvious) is the size. We've gone ahead and created a test run for our Irons in the Fire tab on Facebook to show the difference. Of course, there are still kinks in the layouts and functionality, but you can see the size difference between the Irons in the Fire tab (new width) and the Got Marketing? tab (old width). Albeit frustrating to have to update your existing designs to fit the space, it is a whole lot more room to play with!

Here's a side-by-side comparison:


The second reason is that at the moment, it doesn't seem that Facebook is recognizing the "default landing tab" setting that shows nonfans a specific tab first. It's not clear whether this is a glitch or a permanent feature just yet though. UPDATE: The default landing tab setting will not be a part of the updated page design.

Also, if you have fan-gated content (shows one version to nonfans and another version to fans), the page doesn't automatically refresh once someone's liked the page. In other words, a nonfan will still see the nonfan content after clicking like unless they refresh the page themselves. But again, it's the first day for these design updates so stay tuned!


Messages for Facebook Pages: Bonus Feature!

Messages for pages? Woohoo! Yup, that's right. Fans can now send business pages a private message! If enabled, the message button appears on business pages below the cover photo on the right.

This is great news for companies using Facebook for customer service, offering fans added privacy when taking the conversation off the page. If this isn't something you want to offer, it can be disabled. To access the admin area of the page, click "Admin Panel" at the top right corner of the page (must be logged in and this only appears to admins).


There you'll see an overview of notifications, new messages, and more.


Plus if you are using Facebook as your page, you'll also get a notification in the top bar.


To use Facebook as your page, click the "Admin Panel" button to bring up the admin area, click "Manage" and then click "Use Facebook as Your Page Name Here." 


Just like before, this allows you to post on other business pages as your company or share content from other companies' pages on your own.


Other Timeline Functionality

Much like the Timelines for personal profiles, you can add milestones (when you moved locations, added new locations, expanded, etc.)



You can also add when you opened (a lot like adding when you were born to your personal Timeline).


Have something extra special that you want to highlight on your Timeline? Hover over a post and click the star button.


Doing this will expand it to the full width of your Timeline (which you can undo by hovering over and clicking the star button again).


Or maybe there's something you want to remove from your Timeline? Or change a date (for example, you could move event photos to align with the event date) or adjust the preview of an image? Totally doable. And if it's really, really special, you can even pin a post to the top of your Timeline. To access these options, hover over your post and click the pencil "Edit or Remove" button.



There are sure to be more updates and tweaks to come (and hopefully bug fixes too!) but there you have it – a quick and dirty look at the new Timeline design updates for Facebook pages! We'll keep you posted on our Facebook page as we discover other functionality, hidden features, or tips.

UPDATE: If you have fan-gated content on your Facebook page, click here for an update!

Or if you want some specific advice on your own Facebook page and the transition to a Timeline, we can help! Better Mousetrap is a full-service marketing firm serving clients in Courtenay, Comox, Parksville, Nanaimo, Vancouver Island, and the Mainland. Contact us today to learn more about our social networking packages or consulting services. 




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